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News for 08 July 2020

All the news for Wednesday 8 July 2020

Legend Dutkiewicz signs off with yet another Polish title

Polish legend Tomasz Dutkiewicz signed off his playing career with WKS Grunwald Poznan with yet another Polish championship as his side got the best of KS Pomorzanin Torun 2-1 in the final.

It was his 12th Polish title while he also played for Poland 158 times, scoring 58 goals primarily via his powerful drag-flicks. He also famously played in the first 12 seasons of the EHL, scoring 19 goals for the Military club, competing in every season from 2007 until 2018.

In the final, he laid on the perfect pass for his long-time team mate Artur Mikula to score one of the goals, crowning his remarkable career on a winning note.

On Sunday, meanwhile, all eyes were directed at the AWF complex in Poznań for the final of Terravita Polish Cup where KS AZS AWF Poznań and LKS Gąsawa lined out.

Jacek Adrian’s students won out 4-1 with Patryk Pawlak netting three goals, earning the AWF man the player of the match crown and top scorer.

Euro Hockey League media release

Campo’s men take up place in 2020/21 EHL Cup competition

Club de Campo’s men will return to European competition at Easter 2021 for the first time in seven years following Real Club de Polo’s decision not to compete in the scheduled EHL Cup.

It means Pablo Usoz’s side will be part of the Cup competition, a second-tier event introduced for just this season as a result of the current pandemic.

The EHL Cup will feature eight men’s clubs in a straight knock-out competition from April 2 to 5, 2021. With the 2019/20 EHL Men and Women’s FINAL8 due to completed in October, it leaves a reduced timeframe to run the 2020/21 EHL.

As such, the EHL Men’s competition has been split into two tiers for one season only with 12 sides contesting a FINAL12 event with the next eight teams taking part in the EHL Cup. The venue for both events will be determined later this year.

Campo have played in four previous editions of the EHL, most recently reaching the KO8 in Eindhoven in 2014. Their best ever finish was a run to the final in 2011, becoming the only Spanish club to medal in the competition with a silver. 

Polo had previously been awarded the second European spot from Spain but decided not to take up the invitation with the RFEH subsequently offering the place to Campo.

The Madrid club will take on the new season with the addition of Ricardo Sánchez into its first men’s team.

Sánchez (pictiured), 27, arrives from SPV-Complutense having previously spent a number of year in Belgium with KHC Leuven and La Gantoise. The Spanish international has played for his country 82 times and won silver at the 2019 European Championships in Antwerp.

Campo’s women’s team, meanwhile, are hoping they can make their EHL debut at the FINAL8 in Amsterdam in October; they are drawn against Pegasus in the refixed 2019/20 season event.

Euro Hockey League media release

Important to Give 100% and Have Self Belief: Indian Men's Hockey Team Defender Kothajit Singh Khadangbam

Kothajit Singh Khadangbam maintained his fitness training at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru.

Kothajit Singh Khadangbam (Photo Credit: HI)

Indian men's hockey team defender Kothajit Singh Khadangbam has revealed that his biggest learnings from the COVID-19 induced lockdown were to value the importance of patience and the requirement of believing in oneself in every situation.

Kothajit utilised the time during the lockdown to ponder about his long international career, spanning over 200 matches for his country.

"It was a difficult time during the lockdown period. Staying away from the hockey pitch is always tough. However, I got a chance to hit the pause button during that time. I have been in the Indian team for around seven years and therefore I could utilise the lockdown period to think about how I have progressed in my career," said the 28-year-old.

"I have certainly realised that being patient and continuing to persevere are the key elements in any sportsperson's life. Opportunities will come and go, but the important thing is to keep giving my hundred per cent and believing in myself every time I am on the pitch," he added.

While speaking about the things that kept him motivated during the lockdown, Kothajit said that regular fitness training at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru was a huge blessing for him.

"Maintaining our physical fitness was our biggest goal during the lockdown. Consistent exercise certainly helps one to be mentally and physically fresh. Carrying out the fitness schedules was the best part of my day. It helped me to stay motivated during a difficult time.

"I also watched a lot of footage of my previous matches and I have noted down certain aspects that I will need to work on in the upcoming months. Watching hockey matches and doing stickwork drills were major sources of motivation as well," said Kothajit.

The defender, who missed out on the FIH Olympic Qualifiers last year, was delighted to be called back to the national squad ahead of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 matches against the Netherlands.

"It was certainly difficult to miss out on playing one of the biggest tournaments like the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. However, it was wonderful to see our team book a berth at the Tokyo Olympics in front of our home crowd.

"We have a lot of talented defenders in our team and it's great to compete for a spot in the national squad. It really shows the kind of quality we have on our side. It was amazing to be back in the Indian squad earlier this year.

"Hopefully, I can keep putting in the hard yards in the training sessions in the future and be a consistent member of the Indian side for the upcoming matches," said Kothajit.


Rani Rampal's rise gives me hope I can pull my family out of poverty: Rajwinder Kaur

Rajwinder Kaur is yet to make his India debut. Image: Hockey Inida

Rajwinder Kaur has been a regular in the senior national core probable group since 2017 and is awaiting her turn to earn her maiden international cap.

New Delhi: Waiting to earn her place in the senior Indian women's hockey team, young striker Rajwinder Kaur says she takes inspiration from skipper Rani Rampal's struggles and is determined to bring her family out of poverty with her sporting achievements.

Born in a small village in Punjab, life for Kaur, whose father is an autorickshaw driver and mother a housewife, was not particularly easy. But it changed when a few seniors in her school - Sri Guru Arjun Dev Public School - insisted on her taking up hockey.

"I wanted to be an athlete. I had the speed but when I was in standard IX, my seniors asked me to pursue hockey, I took the chance," the 21-year-old, who is part of the senior women's core probables group, was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a press release.

Her speed, abilities as a striker and natural flair caught the attention of national selectors during domestic tournaments in 2015.

Soon, she was picked for the junior national camp and was given an opportunity to play for India at the U-18 Asia Cup in 2016 in Malaysia.

"In 2017, I received a call up for the senior national camp where I got to closely interact with several top players," said Kaur, who comes from a village named Mugal Chak near Tarn Taran in Punjab.

"Everyone comes from very difficult backgrounds and each one's personal story is motivating but Rani's struggle in her younger days and her subsequent rise in the sport gives me hope because I too come from similar background and I hope I can also pull my family out of poverty by doing well in hockey."

Rani's father was a cart-puller but she fought her circumstances to become the youngest player in the national team at 15, drafted in to play in the 2010 World Cup. She eventually became the captain of the side.

Kaur, the eldest of three sisters and a brother, is a striker who also doubles up as an attacking midfielder.

Having been a regular in the senior national core probable group since 2017, Kaur patiently awaits her turn to earn her maiden international cap.

"I do feel disappointed when I don't see my name in the 18-member squad but I know I still have a lot of time and Chief Coach Sjoerd points out my shortcomings in a positive way and encourages me to improve on those areas.

"I know I have the skills and speed, I need to work on my fitness which is a weak point and since I mostly played as a striker in Junior days, I need to adapt to playing in the midfield."

Back home for a break, Kaur recalls her time during the nation-wide lockdown when the team was in SAI, Bengaluru.

Not allowed to train, Kaur used this period to learn the English language.

"When I came into the senior camp, I found it very hard to understand because I didn't know English.

"I used the time during lockdown to learn the language using different books, online translations, and I would stand in front of the mirror and speak English," Kaur recalled, emphasising that this period taught her how to be self-motivated.


Upgrades for indoor umpires and technical officials

Scottish Hockey has had a number of our umpires and technical officials upgraded for indoor hockey – it is well-earned reward for the excellent work and commitment of the officials upgraded.

Jean Duncan becomes an International Elite Panel Umpire Manager

Gavin Cruickshanks becomes an Advancement Panel Umpire.

Duncan Ruzzak becomes an International Panel Umpire

The announcement means Jean Duncan becomes one of only a handful of International Elite Indoor Umpire Managers, and one of even more exclusive group that is an International Elite Indoor, and Pro-League Outdoor.

Gavin Cruickshanks becomes the fourth Scottish umpire at Advancement Panel. Only the Netherlands has more umpires at Advancement Panel and higher than Scotland does, which shows the significant success Scotland has had on an international level.

Chair of the International Appointments Panel John Herron said, “Duncan has been active in the national league as an umpire for over eight years, if not more, he’s finally received some recognition for his indoor quality.

“But all the officials upgraded are receiving appropriate recognition for the effort and resilience shown working in the league, and thanks to the coaches within Scottish Hockey who have supported their personal development. Hard work pays off.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Uncle Ranjit wants you

By Jugjet Singh

UNCLE Ranjit wants you for an umpiring revolution.

Taking a leaf from the famous Uncle Sam US Army slogan during World War 1, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) want to revolutionise their umpires into world class again.

"We used to have many world-class umpires, but not many are coming out of the system now.

"The committee have come out with a five-year plan to get our umpires back into the World Cup and Olympics.

"For starters, there will now be four Level One exams instead of just one every year," said MHC umpires committee chairman Ranjit Singh.

Plans are afoot to conduct an initial Level One theory examination online. "The four Level One examinations were supposed to start this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we could not conduct two planned sittings. However, two will be held before the end of the year," said Ranjit.

From now, the MHC will tap those with the potential of becoming world-class umpires.

"Next year's Malaysia Games will be the perfect platform for us to approach potential umpires. Many hockey players in this age group will not make it to the national team, but they can continue their love for the sport by becoming umpires.

"Many dream of playing in the World Cup and Olympics, but only a selected few will achieve it. There is another avenue — become top-class umpires and you will also achieve your dream," said Ranjit.

Among the Malaysian umpires listed on the International Hockey Federation list are Nazmi Kamaruddin (51 caps), K. Ilanggo (70), Nur Hafizan Azman (68) and Eric Koh (68).

"The entry Level 1 theory examination is also set to be revolutionised. We will have it online soon, and after that participants will complete the practical sessions.

"Umpiring is not easy as not only do they have to be fast in decision-making, but also swallow their pride and blank out insults from fans during matches.

"So, if you are ready to get to the pinnacle of hockey, but have missed the playing boat, ride the umpiring boat as a second option to travel the world and watch and officiate the sport which you love," Ranjit added.

Uncle Ranjit has thrown you a challenge. Are you ready to take it up?

New Straits Times

Taking time to review

Video analysis has become part and parcel of the coaching tool box in recent years with technology advancing apace. From simple match recordings of a team’s overall performance, to specific patterns of play; from an individual’s skill deployment to an in-depth analysis of behaviour in certain situations. The amount, quality and breadth of data that can now be collected is astonishing.

Different nations are at very different stages when it comes to how much of a role video analysis can play in team preparations. For some nations, video analysis underpins much of the coaching practice. There will be dedicated video analysts, the coaching team will pore over minute details and the players will be provided with targeted information to take into their next training session or game.

For other nations, where resources are fewer, video analysis may involve retrieving a recording of the game and then going through, re-winding and replaying the significant pieces of action to a massed group of players.

This was exactly the range of experience among the participants on the recent FIH Academy online course: ‘Analysis for Coaches: A collaborative approach to learning'. Hockey coaches tuned in for the course from as far afield as USA, Belgium, UK, South Africa, Egypt, Botswana and Nigeria.

Course leader was FIH Educator James Culnane, who is part of the England Hockey coaching team as well as Head of Hockey at Surbiton High School and assistant coach to top English Premier League side Surbiton.

The session was facilitated by international goalkeeping coach and FIH Educator Graham Mansell-Grace.

As with all FIH Academy online courses, the session was as interactive as possible. Culnane is highly knowledgeable and his teaching background means he can get the message across succinctly. Mansell-Grace was an effective facilitator as he encouraged the participants to share their thoughts and marshalled the operation of break-out groups so that everyone could get their points across.

Among the messages that this course delivered was a realisation that even when we think something is very simple and straightforward, there is usually another perspective that has probably not even crossed our minds as coaches. And in a  group setting such as a hockey team, there can be many, many perspectives.

For a coach who is seeking to empower players, this could mean occasionally conceding that someone else within the team group has arrived at a better conclusion or has had a better idea. Culnane quoted the approach taken by Head Coach to Netherlands men’s team Max Caldas, who insists ‘the best idea wins’, no matter whose idea it is.

Another strong message to come from the session was the importance of enabling players to think for themselves. The temptation as coaches is often to feed the players the necessary information to achieve a target. Culnane’s point is, if you want players to think for themselves and make good decisions, then they have to be given the skills to do this. By showing video clips and asking questions, you are supporting the players as they develop a deeper understanding of the game. Rehearsing the process of reviewing is now as much a part of the coaching process as rehearsing skills on the pitch.

Part of the course also answered some of the practical issues of using the Coach Logic video technology. For under-staffed coaches, much of the coding can be done by an injured player or supporter. The built-in communication tools are simple to use and coaches and players can use them as they choose – within training session or in their own time at home or when travelling.

Practising what he was teaching, throughout the course Culnane encouraged the group to ask challenging questions and to delve into deep discussions around topics. His message throughout, and one that coaches can apply to their own coaching programmes is: "it takes time to develop ideas."

Reflecting on the online course, Culnane says: "It always blows my mind on these FIH workshops that we have such a global audience. Different and diverse minds that can think about the game is such different ways. In group discussion we realise that leveraging the strength in those different thought processes will only add benefit to the collective experience.

"My question to all coaches therefore is, are you providing that culture of co-creation? Are your athletes able to add value to your plans? This workshop provides us the opportunity to look at the 'why' of these ideas and offer some simple solutions to help everyone in your group contribute. I think the course went well and some seeds were sown in these ideals. We appreciate the contribution that everyone made on the workshop."

FIH site

New hockey turf given the green light

By Steve Hepburn

All the boxes have been ticked and the stars have aligned — the third hockey turf in Dunedin, New Zealand is soon to be a reality.

The final approval has been given to the facility which will be built at King’s High School, beside the indoor cricket nets.

The project was first floated in 2016 and work had been continuing since then. But the final sign-off has now been achieved.

As it had to be built in warmer and drier times, the construction would begin in September for the hockey pitch-sized turf, and it was hoped to have it operational early next year. It was being built by Tiger Turf, using New Zealand contractors.

Otago Hockey Association general manager Andy McLean said the turf was a real bonus for the sport and the community.

"Hopefully now we can get rid of those late night starts in the middle of winter. The turf gives us more accessibility and more opportunities for people to play the game," McLean said.

"It will also help us to draw more games to Dunedin. For most significant national tournaments, three turfs have to be available and with the addition of this one we will be able to cater for more events."

King’s High School board member Dave Booth said the school — the proud owners of the Rankin Cup, the premier national schools tournament — was pleased to be able to house the third turf in the city. It would enable the city to host major school tournaments and would also be able to be used by the wider community.

Dunedin City councillor Marie Laufiso said the council was always pleased to help out the South Dunedin and sporting communities.

The major funders of the facility are: Dunedin City Council ($500,000), Lottery Community Grants ($500,000) Otago Community Trust ($390,000) and Lion Foundation ($200,000), while the NZ Community Trust, the AAW Jones Charitable Trust and the Alex McMillan Trust have also donated money.

Otago Daily Times

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